Manos Koutsaggelidis was born in Komotini, Thrace in 1976 to parents with origins in Eastern Thrace. His involvement with music began at eight years old with singing and learning accordion. At age 11, he finds himself on Crete, where he begins to study Byzantium musical theory which he would later continue two years later at the Metropolitain School of Byzantium Music in Komotini. It is during this point in his life where Mano meets Chronis Aidonidis and learns much about the musical heritage of his region. At the same time, he begins a cultural research in the villages of Thrace.
Around the age of 15, Mano met the musical group Oi Lalitades from Komotini, and this is where his musical career truly began and he visits all of northern Greece. Concurrently, he works professionally with Chronis Aidonidis, as well as other local musicians. He also began to learn kaval and flute and at age 16, he learns canonaki on his own and masters it within a year.
Manos has collaborated with numerous singers such as Chronis Aidonidis, Nitsa Tsitra, Xanthippi Karathanasi and Nikos Avagiannos amongst others both for live performances as well as studio recordings. Over the last decade, he has begun teaching traditional instruments and theory of middle eastern music.
In addition to his involvement with music, Manos has also dealt with hydrobiology and pisciculture, as well as the research and protection of life forms in the sweet waters of Thrace.
Lefkothea Filippidi was born into a musical family with roots from the village of Kerasovo, Epirus. From a young age she has been surrounded with the sounds of traditional music from all over Greece courtesy of her immediate family; her father Niko, playing predominantly clarinet and wind instruments, and her uncle Kosta playing laouto, accordion and singing. Lefkothea studied at the University of Peloponnisos in History and Archeology in the Management of Cultural Goods. She later completed studies in Western Music at the Conservatory “Musical Horizons” and Byzantine Music at the Holy Archdiocese of Athens.
Lefkothea has appeared on a host of various television shows including “Stin Ygeia Mas”, “Oloi Oi Kaloi Horane”, and “Ehei Gousto” amongst many others. She has participated in the musical homage dedicated to Domna Samiou on ERT in addition to large scale gatherings including the Pan-Epirotic Federation of Greece’s annual gathering “I Pita Tou Ipiroti”. In most recent years, Lefkothea performed in various cities throughout Europe (Nuremberg) and the United States including Chicago, San Diego and San Francisco.
Lefkothea’s various collaborations and performances include appearances with Antonis Kiritsis, Petro Loukas Halkias, Chronis Aidonidis, Vaggelis Dimoudis, Pagona Athanasiou, Panagiotis Lalezas and Theofilos. In addition to her involvement in the traditional music scene, she has also performed with the rock band “Sinenohoi” at the music club Hollywood Stage”. In 2019, Lefkothea’s first personal CD will be published with focus on traditional Greek music. Concurrently, she will be concluding her research into the traditional songs of the region of Konitsa from where her family originates.
Nikos Bozoglou and his family’s origins are from the Mavrothalassa villages of Daoutli and Aspro of Anatoliki Romylia (Northern Thrace) and is a true interpreter of the rich musical-dancing tradition of his region. His love and passion for the songs and music of the villages of the Black Sea led him to learn alongside a small group of distinguished musicians of the first generation of refugees (such as Dimitrios Aramatzis, and Nikolaos Touloupas, amongst others). In his musical development he learnt the authentic style of the region and has evolved into a leading accordion master.
Today, Niko has a special presence in the musical-dancing tradition of Anatoliki Romylia and is one of its most important ambassadors, contributing tirelessly to maintaining the local traditions and musical repertoire. He has played accordion to the most important cultural events organized by the Panhellenic Association of Anatoliki Romylia Associations and has taken part in recordings of local dances and songs. For these reasons, Nikos Bozoglou is a significant figure in the diverse and lively culture of the Black Sea and, more generally, of Northern Thrace, where the weight of his cultural heritage is bestowed upon him in his new homeland.
Vasilis Grammatikos was born in 1987, in Monastiraki, Drama. Influenced by the musical tradition of his homeland, in 1998 he decided to begin studies at the Music School of Drama learning gkainta under the tutelage of Dimitris Kotas from Kali Vrisi, Drama. He graduated in 2004, with distinction in student music competitions.
Since 2008, Vasilis also performs tsampouna professionally for various dance groups, conferences and at glentia. As of 2010, Vasilis also assumed an instructor role, teaching gkainta at Center of Research and Promotion of National Music (K.E.P.E.M.) «Simon Karas» in Athens. Vasilis has collaborated with many of the most important Greek musicians in the field of traditional music and dancing groups within Greece. He participated in recording the album “Perasma sti Chio” (2012) with Nikos Oikonomidis and Kiriaki Spanou consisting of 20 songs from the island of Chios, as well as in the accompanying CD of the book "Greek Traditional Dance In Education - Teaching Methods" (2009) written by Vasilis Karfis and Maria Ziaka. In addition with his involvement in music, Vasilis has graduated as an Electrical Engineer.
Diesi, a traditional Greek band covering a vast repertoire from all regions of present day Greece and beyond is based in Montreal and consists of Panagiotis Bakalis (Clarinet, Flute, Tsambouna), Harry Karavitis (Violin, Vocals), Panagiotis Bournakis (Laouto), and Chris Darsaklis (Percussion).
The members of Diesi developed an appreciation for traditional Greek music from a young age due to their involvement in folklore dance groups in the community. Through their participation in numerous performances and seminars both in North America and Greece, they developed a network with many renowned figures in the traditional dance and music scene. Under the guidance of such individuals, Diesi began developing a musical repertoire from throughout Greece, always with respect to the local traditions and the intricacies of the musical styles.
The band has performed at numerous cultural events, seminars, dance shows and social functions throughout North America also collaborating with various artists from Greece. Various conferences at which Diesi have played include Laografia – Hellenic Cultural Conference (Montreal, 2011-2017), Koinonia Seminar (Los Angeles, 2015-2018), Sinantisi Prevezas Paradosiakou Horou (Greece, 2014), and Vimata (Kitchener, 2012). In addition, they have been featured on local Greek television programming, and partaken in various festivals including the Festival of Folklore (London, 2018), Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke (2012) and various local festivals primarily in Central and Northern Greece.
Diesi has collaborated with several traditional dance groups in Canada including La Troupe Folklorique Grecque Syrtaki (Montreal), Paradosi Hellenic Dance Company (Toronto), Romiosyni Dance Group (Halifax), Dionysos Dancers (Edmonton) and The Odyssey Dance Troupe (Ottawa) amongst others. Since 2013, Diesi has been participating annually in the dance competition FDF, organized by the Metropolis of San Francisco, playing alongside various dance groups from the Western United States primarily based in California.